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Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Stalking IS a C-R-I-M-E!

January 7, 2012 3 comments

STALKING IS A CRIME!

“He Was Really Scary…I Had a Stalker”

Me and my mom were volunteering to set up for a dance at a country club. We’d already volunteered a few times, but this time we met a few other volunteers there. There was a woman and her son. So her son kept coming up to me and asking me questions about how to set up the tables and where they kept the food we were supposed to put out, so basically all of the questions the guy who owned the place had already answered. I figured he just needed a friend. I wasn’t creeped out until he started staring at me. I would look at him and he would look away, but right when I looked away out of the corner of my eye I could see him looking at me again. I was kind of freaked out, so after I was done volunteering that day my mom said we could leave. I went to get my coat and he followed me and asked me if I was coming to the dance. I told him no, and he looked like he was very mad at me and he walked away. So me and my mom leave, and I forget about this guy. Then like 2 weeks later I get this phone call, and I answer and it’s the guy I met at the volunteering place. He asks me if I’m busy that day and I tell him sorry I am and he yells at me and hangs up. I never gave him my number and I wasn’t sure how he got it. Then he called later that night and said he was sorry for calling and yelling at me. He asks me if I’m busy the next day. I tell him I’m sorry but I am. He doesn’t say anything and he just says bye and hangs up. So basically he just kept calling me every day and asking me if I was busy. I got sick of him calling and when he would call I would have a family member answer and say I wasn’t home. Then in the middle of the night I was up and I was in the kitchen getting something to drink when I hear a knock at my slider door and I see him standing there with a flashlight. I screamed and then ran to my parents room. My dad gets up and he doesn’t see him and our door was locked so we know he didn’t get inside. I slept in their room and then a few months passed. He calls my house again and asks me why I didn’t let him in. I hang up on him and block his number. He gets another phone and calls my house and he asks why his girlfriend (me) blocked his number. I told him I wasn’t his girlfriend and he needs to leave me alone or I was going to call the cops. He chickens out for a few years. Then I’m in my senior year of high school and he comes to my door asking if I remember him. I tell him that I have a boyfriend and that he needs to go away. He waited outside my school in the parking lot and then he asked if i wanted a ride. I tell him no I have a ride and he gets mad and yells at me. I got a ride from one of my friends and he follows us so she drives around and eventually he gives up. A few days later her tires are slashed. I’m asleep in my room the next night and he breaks open my window and comes inside. I’m screaming at the top of my lungs but my parents are on a cruise and I’m the only one home. I was positive I was going to die. I finally stop screaming because I’m crying so hard and he’s just making it worse by trying to hug me and comfort me and crap and I start screaming for help. He says he’s going to take me somewhere and were going to run away together and while he’s saying his whole plan the cops get there. He tried to run but the cops cought him and then took him to prison. So now it’s years later and I’m married and I found out the neighbor across the street heard me screaming and called the cops when she saw the window broken. I also found out that the guy who owned the country club gave him my address because he said we left stuff there and he was going to bring it to our house. So I’ve never volunteered anywhere besides schools ever since then.

The above stalking victim wrote in her own words what and how her stalker stalked her.  I find that it helps to share with readers real life experiences of victims so just perhaps you will have a better understanding of the devastating effects that stalking have on victims of this serious crime.

As you can see stalking cases are carried out by ex-partners or by someone that you have never had close relationship with, many victims have never even met their stalker. Often a victim’s stalker can be someone known through work, or a friend of a friend or it could be someone you pass on the street. And with the internet as huge as it is, sometimes people never set eyes on their stalker.

One of the main problems is that so many of us are brought up to be polite and kind, and rather to rebuff unwanted attention, we often let it go. We find ourselves in slightly awkward situations and do not make it clear that we are unhappy. For example, with repeated text messages from someone we don’t know well, we might reply politely to one or two. After that we might ignore them, when perhaps the best although not necessarily the easiest thing to do is say that you do not want any more texts. The number of stalking victims are alarming and terrifying.

Victims must get help that they need and deserve. Until a victim speaks to someone who has been stalked, you never will fully understand how terrifying it truly is. Being stalked is extremely distressing, a victim is used as a plaything for the stalker’s amusement.

Stalking is a serious crime which usually hits the headlines when it’s linked to A-list celebs, but falling prey to a stalker is something that never crosses most of our minds. Stalking is on the rise as both women and men are being targeted by predatory stalkers.

If you are stalked:

First and foremost, have no contact with your stalker.

  • Show no emotion, regardless of how scared or angry you are. Never confront or agree to meet your stalker.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable reach out for help.
  • Carry a cell phone with you at all times. Keep handy, memorize emergency phone numbers or program them into your speed dial in case of an emergency.
  • Call your local law enforcement and file a report of all incidents.
  • Tell your friends, family, neighbors, work colleagues and employer. All have the right to know what is happening for your safety as well as their own.
  • Try not to travel alone. Always vary your routes to and from work or school, the grocery store and any other places regularly visited. By changing your daily routes, it could make it more difficult for someone to learn your routine. If you run or walk for exercise, always get a friend (buddy) to go with you.
  • Keep evidence like texts, emails, letters and parcels. Record anything that could be proof and keep Stalker and Incident Behavior Log for reference.
  • If you are being followed, try to stay calm. If you’re driving, head for the nearest police department to get help.
  • If you ever feel in imminent danger, call 911.

The more the public becomes aware of the effects and toll that stalking can do to a victim – perhaps the more we will realize that STALKING IS A CRIME and it is NEVER the victim’s fault.

Every day should be an internal check about every awareness. Focusing on just one month a year of any specific cause is so minuet as the EPIDEMIC of assaults on females are off the charts.

STALKING: KNOW IT. NAME IT. STOP IT.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

“It’s Time To Get Your Head Out Of The Sand…”

July 14, 2011 2 comments

Becoming educated makes a person more understanding, more aware and more comfortable with the truth.  I am personally becoming more and more appalled with parents that do exactly what is displayed in the picture above.  And, then I get phone calls and emails that their daughters have been assaulted and asked to help them through the system at the schools and law enforcement departments.  Makes me shake my head and ask………”Didn’t you even take the opportunity to check into the crimes stats BEFORE even visiting? Or, spend a some money on giving her the education and advantage of personal safety?”  The majority of the time is “NO”.

It is time for females AND parents to get their heads out of the sand, understand the myths (excuses) and learn the facts (reality) of “realisitic” personal safety training/self-defense and to become proactive. There is not one form of personal safety training/self-defense that is 100% guaranteed. Weapons of every kind are not a guarantee either (we’ll look at this too). However, with education at least you may be able to detect (awareness), learn the ability to de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation and ultimately if a physical altercation occurs you will be better equipped with the knowledge of “realistic” defense.

We all have excuses for things in our lives that we don’t do or spend too much time doing. These excuses serve as deterrents preventing us from following through with action and benefits. When you begin to understand or experience the consequences of your excuses you get a really good reality check. This reality check (wake-up call) usually changes your way of thinking automatically.

The “myth concept” not only affects many areas in our lives but also has the same influence in the personal safety training/self-defense world. These myths make females apprehensive toward or opposed to personal safety training/self-defense.

A myth can be and often is used as an excuse for not doing something. 

The attitude, “it won’t happen to me” is a huge myth; every female should look in the mirror and realize that victimization does not discriminate. This is just plain ignorance if you believe that the possibility that you cannot be a victim is true. You have to debunk the thought that learning personal safety training/self-defense carries negative characteristics (aggression, arrogance, or violence). And, by not understanding that if trained properly to obtain the mental and physical abilities that you can possibly prevent or de-escalate an attack is a total underestimation on your part.

When we begin to understand the facts=reality of these myths=excuses we begin to understand objectives, the effectiveness and the technique of personal safety training/self-defense. We can save our life or the life of someone we love. We can prevent ourselves from becoming a statistic of crime. As I stated above, personal safety training/self-defense is not a guaranteed free pass from crime; however, your chances of survival and the ability to detect a possible altercation are increased significantly.

Becoming educated your level of awareness increases or is heightened, your intuition (gut instincts) are better in tune and your physical abilities are sharpened so that your chances of being attacked, raped or murdered are statistically lessened. You won’t broadcast that you know “self-defense” but you won’t walk down a certain street or in an area when your instincts (gut) kicks in and tells you to turn back. When someone grabs you from behind you won’t freeze but immediately your reaction will be to fight back upon recognition of your window of opportunity. You will see that a seemingly hopeless and defenseless situation has more opportunities for defense than you could have ever imagined.

Personal safety training/self-defense is NOT about being paranoid, it IS about being smart!

Knowledge is a powerful tool.

Stop making excuses and do something powerful for yourself and your loved ones – obtain Personal Safety Training. Training (mind, body and soul) that you will have for the rest of your life.

How can any parent put a price tag on the life of their daughter?  Why wouldn’t you want your daughter in high school/middle school and especially college bound to be educated?

Question……beside looking at the pretty websites and visiting University after University…..has anyone truly looked in the stats of these schools as to their crime stats via The Jean Cleary Act or Title IX?  Parents…..do your homework.  In my book……………NO CAMPUS IS CRIME FREE AND THE NUMBER OF FEMALE STUDENTS BEING ASSAULTED (BY SOMEONE THEY KNOW OR RANDOM) IS OFF THE CHARTS.  Parents……give your daughter the tools for her tool belt, give her the opportunity that she will have for the rest of her life.  No parent wants to receive “that phone call”; trust me.  (*Again, no personal safety course is 100% guaranteed, but even if she gains 50% knowledge of what she never had to begin with isn’t that worth something?)  Think about…………long and hard.  Again, can you honestly put a price tag on your daughter’s life?  Most parents answer is “NO”.

How can any female NOT want to be proactive and at least have the knowledge of COULD happen if I don’t know personal safety?  Personal safety is so much more than watching a DVD in your livingroom – it is truly about education and ultimately physically how to protect oneself.  Girls talk to your parents……this is an exciting time but you guys have to know the possibilities and reality.  Not to “scare” you but you have to know the odds and know how to handle situations.

Parents – get involved in your daughter’s safety during college.  Parents or Gals……contact me for details as we are gearing up our tour to bring personal safety training (6 hours on one weekend day) to communities everywhere! Organizers of training’s will train for FREE!

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Teens Face More Consequences from Sexting than Congressmen Do!

June 13, 2011 1 comment

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner may not have broken any laws by texting lewd photos of himself to younger women he didn’t know.

Delaware Police are investigating allegations that Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner may have been sexting a 17-year-old girl.

Police on Friday afternoon came to the home of a 17-year-old high school junior to ask her about direct online communications she has had with Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Two officers from the New Castle County Police Department arrived at the girl’s home around 4:30 p.m. and asked to speak with the girl’s mother about the daughter’s contact with Weiner. Another officer appeared at the home a short time later. A FoxNews.com reporter was at the home when the police arrived.

The girl, whose name is being withheld because she is a minor, told FoxNews.com, “I’m doing OK.”

The police left the home after about 30 minutes, followed by the daughter and mother, who left in a separate car. It was not clear if the mother and daughter were going to continue the conversation with police at another location.

Sources close the student said the girl followed Weiner on Twitter after seeing him speak during a school trip to Washington on April 1. Weiner, after signing on to follow the girl’s Twitter feed, direct-messaged the girl on April 13, the sources said, though it is not clear what other communication the two may have had between or after those dates.

In many states, however, teens who send pictures of themselves to their own girlfriends or boyfriends can be prosecuted for child pornography.

Allyson Pereira calls that hypocrisy. She should know. She’s spent six years dealing with the consequences of “sexting” one topless image of herself to an ex-boyfriend.

Allyson was 15 at the time, and the boy said he’d date her again if she’d send him the photo. But he was playing her. According to Allyson, he sent the private image to his entire contact list.

For the next three years at Wallkill Valley Regional High School in northern New Jersey, she was bullied and ostracized. Paint cans were thrown in her family’s pool. A tire was rolled down their driveway, smashing a glass door to the house.

“It’s actually made me stronger,” she said in an interview last with JJIE (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange), “but there were times when I really was suicidal. If it hadn’t been for my family and one or two friends, I wouldn’t be here today.”

“I can’t even tell you what it was like to live with that,” her mother says. “These kids can be so cruel to each other.”

But Allyson and her family were afraid to report the situation to police because Allyson could have been prosecuted for sending child pornography — of herself.

In an effort to protect children, both Congress and state legislatures have passed tough criminal laws designating the electronic distribution of nude images of teenagers as child pornography and often requiring those convicted of “sexting” to be registered as sex offenders. The problem is that a net thrown by the legal system to catch adults who exploit children is now more effective at ensnaring children.

Most states now require youths who send nude or semi-nude images of minors to be criminally prosecuted. Alabama, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are among those where teenagers as young as 13 have been prosecuted or convicted for sexting.

One of those teens was Phillip Alpert of Orlando, Fla. At 3:28 in the morning after an argument with his 16-year-old girlfriend, Phillip, who had just turned 18, sent a semi-nude image of the girlfriend to her contact list. Her parents reported his actions to the police, who descended on his house with a search warrant.

Phillip faced 72 charges of various sorts, including the possession and distribution of child pornography. He was kicked out of school and, after pleading guilty, placed on probation for three years.

Most troubling of all, he’ll be listed as a sex offender until he’s 43. In Florida, that means he must tell the state when and where he moves; he can’t live near any schools, parks or playgrounds; and his offender’s status will show up on any Internet search of his name.

Allyson, who’s now 21, met Phillip in February 2010, when the two were the focus of an MTV special, “Sexting in America: When Privates Go Public.” After three years of keeping the abuse she was suffering private (and, to be sure, after she graduated from the high school where much of that bullying was centered), the fate of two girls who’d sent pictures of themselves to boys they liked finally motivated Allyson to go public. Just as in Allyson’s case, the two girls’ photos had been forwarded to others, and the two girls became the objects of brutal teasing.

Then, in June 2008, Jesse Logan, 18, of Cincinnati, Ohio, hanged herself in her room. And in September 2009, 13-year-old Hope Witsell of Ruskin, Fla., stunned the nation by doing the same.

Since deciding to go public in early 2010, Allyson has spoken regularly to school groups about sexting and has made national media appearances. She’s a member of the “street team” for MTV’s “A Thin Line” cyber-bullying project and is at work on a book about sexting.

Along with other advocates, Allyson wants sexting among minors to be decriminalized. She says any softening of the law should apply to minors who distribute others’ images as well as those who send images of themselves.

“All it takes is for you to press ‘send’ and in a millisecond it’s out there and you can’t take it back,” she says. “[Girls] just impulsively send it. They don’t think of the consequences. And the same with the boys who are passing it on. They don’t think about how it might affect the person who’s pictured.”

Both the teens who send images of themselves and the teens who distribute them to others would benefit from counseling more than they would by being designated sex offenders, she said.

Allyson and her mother are doing everything they can to push for a bill currently before the New Jersey state legislature that would decriminalize the first conviction for sexting. New Jersey Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt, the bill’s sponsor, stresses that her legislation requires counseling rather than criminal punishment for first-time offenders.

“This is something that can go viral in seconds, so this could ruin a child’s live, and then on top of that they could be considered sex offenders,” she notes.

Lampitt’s bill has worked its way through the state Assembly, which is the New Jersey legislature’s lower chamber. Today, it’s up for consideration in a Senate committee.

Similar legislation is being considered or already have passed in other states. Lawmakers in Weiner’s home state of New York are considering a bill that would give judges the discretion to divert teen sexters to an “educational reform program.”

In Florida, where so many of the most sensational incidents happen to have occurred, this year’s Legislature passed a bill that will decriminalize the first sexting offense by a minor, making it punishable by up to eight hours of community service and a $60 fine. The second incident would be a misdemeanor.

It’s unclear whether the Florida legislation, which takes affect in October, will save from criminal charges the two latest Florida kids to be charged with sexting.

Last week, in Hernando Beach, Fla., the family of a 15-year-old boy reported to police that their son had been threatened by another student. The 15-year-old boy’s girlfriend had sent an image of herself to him. A second boy saw the girl’s image on the other person’s phone, and threatened the 15-year-old boy, according to an affidavit.

But when the family of the 15-year-old boy reported the threat and provided police with a flash card containing the image, police didn’t charge the boy who allegedly threatened their son. They arrested the 15-year-old and his girlfriend.

That’s the kind of case where Allyson Pereira sees hypocrisy. While adult celebrities cast images of themselves all across the Internet, teenagers who show the same poor judgment can be charged with a crime.

“If you look at Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, they can do these things and get away with it,” Allyson said, referring to two celebrities who’ve boosted their careers by sending out lewd images of themselves. “And kids think they can do it and it’s cool. And then they do it, and they can get arrested.

SIMPLY….. DON’T BE A PART OF SEXTING NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

 

 

 

Partial Contributor: Ken Edelstein, JJIE

NC (North Carolina) Stop Human Trafficking!

June 3, 2011 Comments off

NC Stop Human Trafficking is a statewide organization whose mission is to eradicate modern day slavery in all its forms. NC Stop Human Trafficking works to fight human trafficking on multiple levels following the P.A.V.E. model: Prevention, Advocacy, Victim Services and Education/awareness.  NC Stop works through connecting and supporting individuals, community-based and faith-based organizations, non-governmental and governmental organizations. We focus on collaboration and communication between all groups to be efficient and effective. NC Stop strives to create opportunities for community members to become involved in the fight to stop human trafficking that are fulfilling and appropriate for each member.

We have active member groups in Wilmington, Greenville, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Burlington, Greensboro, Charlotte and Asheville. We also have members who are students at NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, UNC- Greensboro, and UNC-Charlotte. Email ncstophumantrafficking@gmail.com if you live near these areas and would like to meet with groups in your area and learn how to be involved.

Perceived factors leading to human trafficking:

- Non-identification of trafficking situations by law enforcement and community members

- Lack of awareness and education in the general public and direct service providers

- Vulnerability to exploitation due to isolation, abuse/neglect, low self esteem, poverty

- Victims have little to no knowledge of, or access to, alternatives and resources available

- Normalization of degradation and violence against women and children

- Normalization of exploitation and devaluation of human life

- Little deterrence on the demand side – lack of adequate consequences for offenders

- Lack of follow up programs, effective counseling and alternative placement for victims

- Broken foster care and social work system – runaway/throwaway and homeless youth are the highest risk group

- Lack of collaboration and communication between government, NGO, faith- and community-based groups

NC Stop Human Trafficking’s core areas of focus of Prevention, Advocacy, Victim Services, and Education/Awareness (P.A.V.E. model) are designed to address these problems. We seek to work through existing organizations first through providing training on issues and program development, then plan to fill in gaps as needed. In this way we choose to collaborate and effect communication across all borders for the common purpose of ending human trafficking.

Prevention -

Protect and educate the vulnerable to reduce risk of exploitation

Work to reduce and eliminate contributing factors of isolation, abuse/neglect, low self-esteem and poverty through mentorships, capacity building, life-skills education, parenting training, etc.

Ensure access to resources and options in life.

Work to expose and reduce normalization of degradation, violence, exploitation and devaluation.

Education/Awareness focus will also help with prevention – education to at-risk population

Educate young people on what a healthy relationship looks like, how to spot exploitation, who to turn to for help, technology and bullying – how to cope, education for boys as well as girls

Address foster care/social work system

Advocacy-

Advocate for tougher penalties for traffickers and end users – Washington state law – cars impounded/ $5000 fine, john school

Support legislation that funds programs for victims – shelter, education, food, therapy, etc

Raise awareness that there is no such thing as a child prostitute – anyone under 18 is a victim – consent is off the table

Advocate for reduced penalties (or none – based on Sweden model) for prostitutes and FUNDED alternative programs in exchange for lesser sentences

Change prostitution laws in NC

Prostitution charges acquired before age 18 can be struck off record – NY state law

Victim Services -

Shelter – security

Health Care

Food

Clothing

Personal Hygiene

Therapy

Life coaching

Legal Services – including immigration processing if needed

Alternative life choices – training and support needed

Long term support system and reintegration into society – love and support – effective follow up and follow through

Education/Awareness -

Civic organizations and associations with a service mission

NGO/Non profits with a service mission – esp focusing on women and children’s health, safety, welfare, etc

Faith based organizations and churches

Schools

Anyone in contact with at risk youth – social workers, guidance counselors, school nurses, teachers existing mentorship programs such as Boys and Girls Club etc, Planned Parenthood, foster parents, adoption/fostering networks, malls, movie theaters, social media, etc -

Law Enforcement

Media

Celebrity

Legislators

General Public

You can get connected to the coalition through our Google group, where members can communicate with each other and share information, and also through our Facebook group.

  • Want to find out how you can be a part of North Carolina’s abolitionist movement? Email us at ncstophumantrafficking@gmail.com, tell us where you’re from, and we’ll see how we can get you hooked in!
  • Know something that you think should be shared on this blog? Email us!

RALEIGH – U.S. National Committee for UN Women – 2011 National Conference

When: Saturday, June 11, 2011

Time: 9:00am – 5:30pm / Reception Afterward

Location:Witherspoon Student Center, North Carolina State University, 2810 Cates Ave, Raleigh, NC

Link: http://wp.me/pikPQ-gG

Via NC Stop Human Trafficking 

Take care and STAY SAFE!

 

 

 

 

The Issue of Child Sexual Abuse…

February 19, 2011 Comments off

We Can End Child Sexual Abuse

The ultimate mission of D2L, to end childhood sexual abuse, can only be accomplished by sharing the solution of prevention, awareness and education with more and more people. This, in turn, builds momentum and over time, changes the way our nation and culture cares for, protects and nurtures our children. Being an active participant in the mission to end childhood sexual abuse is one of the most rewarding things we will ever do – and we cannot do it without you. We believe that learning the facts about childhood sexual abuse helps prevent it. Talking about it helps prevent it. Getting involved helps prevent it. The truth is, if childhood sexual abuse can be prevented, it can be stopped. That’s why D2L exists – to empower adults through awareness and to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training

Stewards of Children is the only nationally available program scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors. This revolutionary program is for any responsible adult who cares about the welfare of children. It is also appropriate for youth-serving organizations (sports leagues, day care centers, after school programs, children’s clubs, church groups and more).

Who Uses the Program?

Stewards of Children is for any responsible adult who cares about the protection of children. It is also used by individuals, organizations, businesses, and corporations who:

  • Seek training for staff and volunteers in the prevention of child sexual abuse.
  • Look to enhance their child protection policies and procedures or respond to insurance requirements.
  • Want to lead a community-based initiative and offer prevention training to the community.

What Topics are Covered in Stewards of Children?

  • Facts about the problem of child sexual abuse.
  • The types of situations in which child sexual abuse might occur.
  • Simple, effective strategies for protecting children from sexual abuse.
  • The importance of talking about the prevention of sexual abuse with children and other adults.
  • The signs of sexual abuse so you that you might intervene and be able to react responsibly.

What Outcomes Can Be Expected After Training?

  • Increased awareness of the prevalence, consequences and circumstances of child sexual abuse
  • New skills for adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse
  • Proactive, positive change to organizational policies and procedures
  • Individual commitment to action via a personal prevention plan

How is the program delivered?

Stewards of Children is available in two formats: ONLINE and Facilitator Led. The content of the programs is identical and both include three main sections including video commentary by adult survivors and experts in the field.

How Long Does the Program Take to Complete?

Stewards of Children typically takes about 2.5 – 3 hours. Think about it — in just 2.5 hours, you’ll have the information you need to better protect every child you know. The ONLINE version of the training does not have to be completed in one sitting — you can pause anywhere in the program and pick it up later without losing your place.

 

Dancing with the Stars Pro Shares Her Story of Abuse; “I Was Molested”, Cheryl Burke

February 11, 2011 3 comments

 

As any fan of Dancing with the Stars knows, Cheryl Burke exudes confidence when she’s waltzing, quick-stepping or doing the tango in front of millions.

But for the two-time DWTS champ, life wasn’t always so smooth: As a child, Burke was repeatedly molested by a friend of her family’s – and testified against him in court, helping send him to prison for nearly two decades.

“I’m telling my story,” says Burke, 26, who opens up about the molestation – and other struggles, including physical abuse by two former boyfriends – in her new book Dancing Lessons, (coauthored by PEOPLE senior writer Monica Rizzo). “They’re not secrets. There’s no shame.”

Burke’s abuser was a retired mailman who was trusted and well liked in Burke’s Bay Area community. He would sometimes pick Burke up from school and do odd jobs around her home. The assaults began when she was 5.

After he was accused of targeting other children, Burke acknowledged her own abuse. But, still reeling from her parents’ split when she was a baby, she was wracked with confusion.

“I felt guilty for wanting his love and affection,” she says, calling testifying against him “the hardest thing I’ve ever done … I saw his face and lawyers were asking me these questions and I was like, ‘What am I doing? Did he even do anything wrong?’ “

Eventually, with the man in prison and years of therapy, Burke came to see just how wrong her abuser was.

Now, with season 12 of DWTS beginning in March, Burke is ready to tell her story. “If I can help just one person,” she says, “for me that’s all that matters.”

Cheryl Burke is now the latest in a long list of celebrities who have bravely told their story in the last year. We hope these stories will help make sexual abuse a more “speakable” issue in our society – for both the millions of survivors that carry their abuse in secret and for the millions and millions of children we can protect from ever being abused.

We look forward to the day when one of the many celebrity survivors comes forward and joins us in our fight to spread the word about how abuse can be stopped to begin with! We can prevent child sexual abuse!

Darkness to Light History, Ending Child Sexual Abuse

February 6, 2011 Comments off

We Can End Child Sexual Abuse

The ultimate mission of D2L, to end childhood sexual abuse, can only be accomplished by sharing the solution of prevention, awareness and education with more and more people. This, in turn, builds momentum and over time, changes the way our nation and culture cares for, protects and nurtures our children. Being an active participant in the mission to end childhood sexual abuse is one of the most rewarding things we will ever do – and we cannot do it without you.We believe that learning the facts about childhood sexual abuse helps prevent it. Talking about it helps prevent it. Getting involved helps prevent it. The truth is, if childhood sexual abuse can be prevented, it can be stopped. That’s why D2L exists – to empower adults through awareness and to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse.

A Brief History

In 2000, Anne Lee, now Darkness to Light’s President and CEO, developed and implemented a strategy for a non-profit primary prevention program with the mission of reducing the incidence of child sexual abuse through public awareness and education. With tremendous community support, over $100,000 was raised and an award-winning media campaign was developed and launched in June of 2001.

In 2002 “7 Steps to Protecting our Children: A Guide for Responsible Adults” was created and Time, Inc agreed to place ads in various magazines they publish. In 2003 the documentary Childhood Stories was produced by the award-winning team of Breslin-Dunn. The documentary details the stories of four adult survivors of sexual abuse from various backgrounds and life experiences.

In 2004 we began work on an interactive sexual abuse prevention training program, called Stewards of Children, a 2 1/2 hour training program for adults. And, CNN began running Darkness to Light public service announcements nationally. These pro-bono ads were designed to increase awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse and to drive viewers to educational materials. CNN is still a significant supporter today and countless organizations and individuals have found us because of an ad they saw on CNN.

In 2006, Stewards of Children ONLINE was released as a web based version of the “live” or facilitated version of the training program.

Today we have more than 2,500 Facilitators who teach the program in 48 states and 10 additional countries and more than 200,000 copies of the Stewards of Children curriculum have been distributed and the program is also available in Spanish and Icelandic.

Other Noteworthy Accomplishments

Gracie’s Choice

Darkness to Light partnered with Lifetime Television on the issue of child abuse. The lifetime original movie, Gracie’s Choice, stars Anne Heche, Diane Ladd, and Kristen Bell. The movie was orginally aired in 2002.  “Gracie’s Choice” on Amazon

Darkness to Light Featured in Parenting Magazine

“Are you doing all you can to protect your child from sexual abuse? The standard advice is wrong: Here’s what it takes to really keep kids safe.” By Jessica Snyder Sachs Preventing the Unthinkable

Article Printed in October, 2003 Parenting Magazine  www.parenting.com

Darkness to Light Named as Noteworthy Public Awareness and Education Campaign by the Department of Health and Human Services

Darkness to Light was recognized in a report released April 2003 called Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. The report stated “Darkness to Light is a noteworthy public awareness and education campaign in that it shifts the responsibility of child sexual abuse prevention from children to adults.

Utilizing common sense messages for adults and parents, the public service announcements and advertisements center around preventing situations from happening, recognizing signs and reacting responsibly. The initiative also follows up their media message by providing a hotline for information and referral to local resources, and is developing a training and education program for educators, the faith community, and physicians on recognizing and responding to signs of child sexual abuse.”

McGruff™ Names Stewards of Children 2007 Crime Prevention Program of the Year!

The National Crime Prevention Council has named Darkness to Light their Crime Prevention Program of the Year for 2007. The McGruff Crime Prevention Award for Excellence was presented at the National Conference on Preventing Crime in Atlanta on October 4th.

Federal Grant from Health and Human Services Allows for Training of SC Department of Education

With the partnership of the South Carolina Department of Education and a federal grant from Health and Human Services, 20,000 educators were trained by Darkness to Light, making SC the first state to train teachers state wide.

 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month!

February 1, 2011 Comments off

 

 

Questions every parents and teen should be asking….”What Can I do to bring awareness to the growing epidemic of Teen Dating Violence?”

Many may or not be aware that today, February 1, 2011 kicks off the second year to recognize Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Every day should be recognized as personal safety awareness but this month we will streamline and focus on our young people.

Did you know that 1 in 3 teens in a serious relationship reports having been hit, slapped or pushed by a partner?  Not only can abuse be physical but it can be sexual, verbal, emotional and stalking. And, it can even be digital abuse.  To make matters worse, dating abuse has also been linked to other serious issues, like drug use, teen pregnancy and suicide.

What’s the bottom-line?  Teens have the right to be educated about safe and healthy relationships, free from abuse.  And, we are going to be shouting from the rooftops all month long and ask that you assist us.

We want to reach as many teens as humanly possible every single day.  We need to get this information out to students, teachers, parents, administrators and anyone else that wants to get involved.  We will raise awareness nationwide and direct youth to Project Safe Girls as well as other agencies and places that they can get help.  We are asking for your help – we need as many voices to be heard.

Please invite your friends, family members, parents, associates and peers to join us as we extend our hand to our young people.  Our young people must begin to learn extremely important “life skills” that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.  Who wouldn’t want this vital information and training for themselves, their daughter, sister, any family member or friend?

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Anny

Risk Assessment of Stalking and Safety Plan Suggestions…

January 23, 2011 Comments off

What is stalking?

While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Stalking is another form of Power and Control; in reality it is mental abuse.

Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.

Risk Assessment

Questions to ask a victim:  Has anyone ever:

  • Followed or spied on you more than twice?
  • Made repeated, unwanted phone calls to you?
  • Stood outside your home, school, office?
  • Left unwanted gifts or items for you to find?
  • Vandalized or damaged your property?
  • Repeatedly threatened you/those close to you?
  • Showed up at places you were for no apparent reason?

Safety Plan Suggestions for Victims of Stalking

  • IF YOU HAVE AN EMERGENCY, CALL 911
  • Do not attempt to negotiate with a stalker, do not have any contact or communication.
  • Telling a stalker ten times to leave you alone is nine times too many, be consistent.
  • If you have an order of protection, carry it with you at all times, keep extra copies.
  • If you think you are being stalked, call the police.  Make sure each incident is reported to the police, keep the complaint number and obtain a copy of the report.  Immediately begin to keep a behavior log for your case.
  • Allow an answering machine to screen all of your phone calls and save the messages.  Save any letter(s), emails, text messages, packages or gifts from the stalker.
  • Vary your routes to and from work or school.  Inform your building, office or campus security guards that someone is stalking you.  Travel with a companion whenever possible.
  • Keep your windows and doors locked securely at home and in your car.
  • Obtain a cellular phone for use outside of your home and in your car.  You do not have to have service or a contract with a cellular company to dial 911, just be sure to keep the cell phone charged.
  • Install deadbolts (one keyed AND one keyless) on every exterior door.  Have your existing doorknob locks changed as well as any existing keyed deadbolts and keep extra keys.  Secure windows with safety devices appropriate for the type of sliding glass door or window.  If possible, install a motion sensor light and an alarm system.  Keep lights and a radio or television on at different times.  Don’t sleep near a window and keep your shades drawn.
  • Tell trusted family members, friends, neighbors and employers that you are being stalked.  Provide them with a photo and description of the stalker and any vehicle information they he/she may drive.
  • Obtain an unlisted phone number or a phone number in someone else’s name.  Use a pager and give the number only to close family members and friends that WILL NOT have contact with the stalker.
  • If you feel that you are being followed, drive to a police or fire station.  Do not drive home.
  • Install wide-angle viewers and positively identify all visitors before opening your door.  Have a “peephole” installed on exterior doors and use them before opening your doors.
  • Visually  check front and rear passenger compartments before entering your vehicle, check your tires and vehicle for damage.  Always park in well lit areas.
  • If you have children, notify their schools of the situation, provide a photo and description with explicit instructions in writing.
  • Maintain a private post office box if your residence is confidential.
  • Obtain Caller Id, order a complete blocking of your phone number to ensure your number is not disclosed.  Utilize anonymous call reject or call blocking.  Notify the annoyance call bureau of harassing phone calls.  After you have filed a police report, you may be eligible for call tracing.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Anny Jacoby’s Appearances for National Stalking Awareness Month via ImaginePublicity

January 13, 2011 Comments off

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

Stalking is a repetitive pattern of unwanted, harassing or threatening behavior committed by one person against another.  Acts include: telephone harassment, being followed, receiving unwanted gifts, and other similar forms of intrusive behavior.  All states and the Federal Government have passed anti-stalking legislation.  Definitions may vary state-to-state but most define stalking as “the willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing of another person that threatens his or her safety”.

Anny Jacoby

Anny Jacoby, Personal Safety Expert and Certified Self-Defense Coach, will be making appearances to enhance awareness during January, National Stalking Awareness Month.

Anny’s mission is to reach out to every avenue available to teach these skills at the corporate level, to emergency services, victim support groups and agencies, schools, colleges and health service providers. Her professional programs are designed for every age group from children to seniors, as well as a program designed specifically for the disabled.

Lavinia Masters

Lavinia Masters serves as a speaker, volunteer and Sexual Assault Response Team Member for Denton County Friends of the Family Rape Crisis Center, a national speaker for Rape Abuse And Incest Network (RAINN), and a spokesperson for the Dallas Police Department Sexual Assault Cold Case Program (SEACAP). Lavinia also founded and is the director of the S.A.V.E. ( Sexual Abuse Victim Empowering) Ministry and the facilitator of S.A.S.S.I. (Sexual Abuse Support Survivor Initiative).

The Lavinia Masters Show on BlogTalk Radio

Tune in Thursday evening, January 13, at 8pmEST to listen to Anny Jacoby and Lavinia Masters discuss the many aspects of stalking and how toinsure your safety should you be the victim of a stalker.

Go to the link to Listen and Chat Live:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lavinia-masters/2011/01/14/its-not-a-joke-its-not-romantic-its-not-okay-its-a-crimestop-stalking-with-anny-jacoby

Peas In Their Pods

Peas In Their Pods Organizational goal takes pride in helping to find missing children of color, fight against child abuse, and provide information to the public.

Every 40 seconds a child is reported missing in the United States. Under 45% are African American Children.

Peas In Their Pods Radio on BlogTalk Radio

On Sunday, January 16, 7PM EST, Anny Jacoby will be appearing on the popular internet radio show, Peas In Their Pods, presented by an organization which helps the plight of missing children by filling in the gap when an Amber Alert criteria isn’t met.

Hosts Gaetane Borders and Janice Lowery, and guest, Anny Jacoby,  will be giving listeners lessons on the definition of stalking, how to know if you are being stalked, and what to do about it to be sure you are safe from danger.

Go to the link to Listen and Chat Live:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/peasintheirpods/2011/01/17/peas-in-their-pods

To schedule an appearance by Anny Jacoby, Lavinia Masters or a representative from Peas In Their Pods, please contact ImaginePublcity by filling in the form below or call 843.808.0859.

 

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